David Lauman

Posts Tagged ‘non-English speaking witness’

How to get a good deal on translation of deposition transcripts

In Advice on October 11, 2017 at 12:11 PM

By David L. Lauman, MATI, FCCI, CT

Here is the story of a law firm that obtained high-quality, professional translation of a deposition transcript while getting a great value for their money. Read on, and see how you can reap similar benefits.

A Spanish-speaking client of the firm had recently testified at a deposition concerning a personal injury case, and his attorney wanted him to review the transcript for accuracy before signing it.  The attorney also requested that I translate the deposition transcript into Spanish.  Upon reviewing the transcript, I determined that a written translation would have taken several hours to complete, which would result in a four-figure fee.  When I shared this information with the firm, it did not move things forward.

So I decided to offer sight translation instead, which is spoken translation of a written text.  I tried doing sight translation into Spanish on part of the transcript and found that I was comfortable with this method, and that it would allow me to convey the content into the deponent’s native language completely, accurately, and quickly.  Additionally, I ascertained that said method would take far less time than written translation, and at a substantially lower cost.

When I shared these findings with the firm, they promptly set up an appointment for me to go to their offices and sight translate the transcript to their client.  To allay their concerns about accuracy, I suggested that we prepare a statement for me to sign and have notarized, in which I certified that I had done a thorough, faithful and correct sight translation of the transcript.

The actual sight translation took even less time than I had originally estimated, and it definitely cost the firm much less than a written translation.  They were happy with this outcome, and since then I have received repeat business from them.

Please note, though, that only certain types of documents lend themselves to efficient sight translation.  In the instance I’ve shared, the language of the deposition transcript was not highly technical and the topic was relatively straightforward. However, more complex documents (i.e. re: international tax law) should only be translated in written form, and it is worth the investment to ensure that the written translation is publication-grade.

When this type of situation arises, I would suggest that you work with a court-certified interpreter (i.e. who specializes in spoken translation for legal matters).  I would also recommend that you get an interpreter who has also undergone extensive coursework in sight translation as part of his formal interpreter/translator training.  Please note that there are relatively few such interpreters, and that translators who strictly work with written documents are not necessarily trained to do sight translation.  Finally, if distance is an issue, sight translation can also be done by videoconference.

I look forward to assisting you with situations like these and others requiring accurate Spanish translation. Please contact me at 303-667-6082 or david “at” 2020translations.com.  I invite you to learn more about my solutions at www.2020translations.com! Thank you!

© David L. Lauman, 2017.  All rights reserved.